Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are We On The Way To Another Depression?

Sunday, my aunt and uncle gave me my mom’s old photograph album that she had made in the 40s of all her high school friends. They said it was time I had it. So we browsed through it and I recognized a few people that turned into Mom’s lifelong friends and whom I grew up with. A couple pictures sparked conversations. Uncle Bill told us how although he was very young in the 1930s during the Great Depression (he was born around 1924) he remembers some of how it started. Unfortunately, you won’t be surprised. He said it was very similar to now with lots of companies folding, people losing jobs, other companies laying off workers and/or cutting back hours, and everything going into a downward spiral that was devastating to everybody. If you read my blog post last week, Thursday’s or Friday’s I think, you’ll have seen that my husband’s company is cutting everybody back to 4 days a week. Uncle Bill told us today that my cousin Jerry might lose his STATE (government) job as an architect, that the state had to borrow money to make payroll this week. I read where Borders (where I’m sitting right now as I write this) either just did or will soon cut back their work force to 80% of what it was. It looks as if they already did. The ladies room is filthy. The poor lady behind the counter is alone and bombarded with work. I’ve read two related but conflicting pieces of information, both observations by publishing professionals. One was an interview with an e-publisher I which she said her company is receiving fewer submissions. Her guess is that a lot of authors have had to go back to a regular job to make ends meet and thus have less time to write. That and stress because of the tough economy. That makes sense. Then I read an agent’s blog where she reported getting way more submissions than before this economic downfall. Her guess is that people are dusting off old manuscripts and submitting in the hopes of making extra money selling books. I know my husband is getting a lot more people requesting umpiring jobs because they’ve lost their day jobs. So far, softball at least, seems to be alive and well. They’re adding new teams, new tournaments, and more games. Maybe people just want to whack balls to get out their frustrations. Sounds good to me. So getting back to the question about manuscript submissions, which is it? Why is the agent seeing way more submissions and the publisher way less? (Maybe we should introduce this particular agent to this specific publisher???) Personally, I’m trying to speed up my writing and submission (although I’ve always tried to do a lot in this regard) so I can earn more money to pay bills. At the same time, the stress of everything is getting to me, so some nights after I get home from an extra long day at the day job, I’m too tired and stressed to write even though I want to). As this economy goes more downhill, those of us who still have jobs have to work harder and longer to make up for deleted positions. As I work in customer service, I also have to deal with more stressed out customers who think it’s okay to snap off my head (I guess) because to them I’m just a disembodied voice on the phone, or as far as they know a robot without feelings, or at least an unimportant peon. So what are we to do? How are we to survive? Back in January I narrowly avoided personal disaster but am still one of the lucky ones. Luckier than a lot even if my husband will lose a big chunk of our income and even if my daughter still can’t find a job. My aunt said people in the 30s planted gardens to have food. It’s against my city’s ordinance to have produce gardens. I might be able to sneak in a small one behind my flowers. Somehow, I don’t think that will be enough to solve the economic woes. I don’t know that I can write any faster. Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a less frequent visitor at your blogs. This is so I can write more, not that I don’t want to socialize (because I love to socialize). There’s limited hours in the day. Supposedly my grandpa (Mom’s and Uncle Bill’s dad) got up at 3 in the morning so he could stoke coal and wood in fires and then he sold Fuller Brushes door to door to keep food on the family table. He worked long hard hours and just scraped by. I’m starting to feel like that although I’m still in the day job I’ll have had fifteen years come May ’09. Besides working harder and planting gardens, what else can we do? You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well, we could all cut back on what we can but the economy - whichever country we are in - needs us to spend. What do we do? We just get on with life the best we can without worrying what anyone else is doing. Personally, I am not going to write any faster than I do - too much stress and hassle in driving yourself to the point of exhaustion and you can only credibly release so many books a year can't you?

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